South by Instinct – RAY FIRTH

No matter what, every picture tells a story. Each image is, in some part, a recipe for the construction of our world. It is a theory of everything, however imperfect the painters understanding of that theory and schema might be.

Every painting is a map. It is a conversation, a confession; thoughts, however naive, directed from one mind to another. Each and every painting is a statement of viewpoint and bias. It is an image from only one particular point of view. The hope, however, is that the image has some part of wisdom woven into it!

I yearn for the bright and the open, the windswept, and the rocks burnished by time. I want to know the lichen and the dust and the plaintive sigh in the casuarinas. I love the mystery of the night sky and what it does to the land. I love the quiet in unseen places, hidden by shade and solitude. I love the deepening mystery of every tiny part of this marvelous place.

That love, however, needs to understand and map the world of our experience. It is our task to remember and know the numinous, the wondrous, the beautiful, and to pass that on forever.


Night Time, Tarkine

Night time forest where the creeks meet, Tarkine
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
122 x 110cm


Ragged Ranges
The wind will ripple every pool, just as the rocks have been worried by Gods.
Acrylics and inks on archival card
83.5 x 29cm


Finding A Way

Finding a way to MacGregor Peak, Tasman Peninsula
Sometimes dry but never far from the unexpected.
Acrylics and inks on ply
54 x 54cm


Coast of Dust and Crumble, Marion Bay
Acrylics, oxide and inks on marine ply
122.5 x 81cm


Dark Forest
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
110 x 122cm


Coast and Cloud, Bruny Island
Acrylics and inks on composition board
75 x 73.5cm


The Beautiful Creek
Acrylics and inks on rag paper
59 x 55cm


Forest and Understory, Mount Field
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
122 x 83.5cm


Bruny Fragment
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
54 x 55cm


Woodland bush track, Wielangta I
Acrylics and inks on ply
53 x 53.5cm


Woodland bush track, Wielangta II
Acrylics and inks on ply
53 x 53.5cm


The Old Garden, Randalls Bay
Acrylics and inks on ply
70 x 52cm


Ralph Falls
White water finds an impossible path through the heaving rock to the mysterious forest below.
Acrylics and inks on ply laminate
52 x 122cm


Night time creek, Boobook quiet
Acrylics and inks on ply
51.5 x 53cm


Strange water, Beneath the forest
Acrylics and inks on ply
62 x 51.5cm


small wonder – Gerhard Mausz and Alex Miles

Beautiful textures, colours and light, extreme and unpredictable weather, unusual and ancient plant and animal life – they all give Tasmania a unique and mystical character. This exhibition of work by Gerhard Mausz and Alex Miles is their response to Tasmania’s unique natural environment.

Alex’s bold prints and kinetic installations explore the things we feel (wonder, curiosity, anticipation, trepidation) when we’re immersed in a wild place – small figures in a big landscape. Drawn from memories of family adventures and school trips to places like Maria Island, Tasman Peninsula, Dove Lake and Mount Field, her colourful, pattern-based work is made with a young audience in mind (and the young at heart), inspiring them to get outside, embrace adventure and imagination, and discover and value Tasmania’s special places.

The fluid forms of Gerhard’s Hammerschlag Series and terrazzo sculptures reflect his fascination with Tasmania’s marine life encountered while snorkelling, surfing and camping. His natural curiousity compels him to explore. These sensual forms evolved from pushing the boundaries of his practice – using a ball hammer, each object has been hit 15000 to 27000 times to give a unique, sparkling hammer finish.

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Bird making ceramic workshop with Eve Howard


Join Eve Howard, ceramic sculptor, for a 3 hour workshop, where you will have the opportunity to make your own albatross or bird of your choice. All materials will be supplied on the day. Workshop includes approximately 2 hours of making your bird sculpture, followed by an hour of painting your finished bird. Eve will take your bird sculpture to her studio where she will dry and fire them. Three weeks later your finished bird will be waiting for you at Wild Island Gallery for collection. The workshop is suitable for complete beginners and children over 12. Just bring along your creativity, enthusiasm….. and an apron.
Bookings are limited to 10 people so get in quickly to avoid missing out.
Date: Sunday 24 July
Time: 10am – 1pm
Cost: $75pp
Morning tea will also be provided.

 This event is SOLD OUT. Please contact us for another potential workshop the following Sunday.

Albatross: The world of Tasmania’s mysterious shy albatross

DSC02877Photographer Matt Newton with Scientist Dr Rachael Alderman and Ceramicist Eve Howard 

Opening 5.30pm 8 July – Continuing until 2 August

Wild Island is excited to showcase photographer Matthew Newton’s and ceramicist Eve Howard’s artistic response to a unique Tasmanian species, and present scientific knowledge and perspectives from the dedicated biologists working to understand and protect this iconic species. This exhibition highlights what can be achieved when art and science work together to communicate for a cause. The aim of the ‘Albatross’ exhibition is to raise awareness and understanding of Tasmania’s own albatross. Through the sharing of our knowledge and our artistic perspectives of the species, it is hoped that the exhibition’s audience become advocates for the Shy Albatross and active supporters of conservation efforts.

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Exhibition – Hanna Woolley and Duncan Meerding

Fibre and Light – Opening 5.30pm, Friday 3 June

Exhibition continues until Tuesday 5 July

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Hanna Woolley

Hanna mixes the age-old tradition of wet felting with a modern twist. Capturing natures’ textures and patterns using natural fibres, both her stylised and abstract pieces will lure you into a tactile experience. The hangings are layered with superfine merino wool, high lustre silk, cotton and sustainable threads such as sari silk waste and ethically sourced cocoons.

Hanna’s inspiration is drawn from beach combing, rock pools and the whimsy of lichens and mosses that are observed, thoughtfully collected, and treasured while taking walks with her family around the East Coast of Tasmania. Forest colours are highlighted and reflected throughout the exhibition.

Duncan Meerding

Through his work Duncan aims to explore simplistic forms and the way light performs around them. Whether that is the silhouette cast by the furniture piece itself, or the light cast from within. The form of each item is as important as the light cast on the surrounding surface – be it the shards of light bursting from the varying Cracked Log designs or the light patterns cast from the propellers on the ceiling and the walls.

Duncan’s work is influenced by the natural environment. Utilising sustainable, durable materials is at the core of his design process.

“Sustainability and a focus on the environment are present in every step of our process. The majority of timber is sourced either from waste materials or else from faster growing robust timber varieties. Marrying traditional, hand-made techniques with modern manufacturing technologies, small-scale production ensures that each object is built to last. All items are designed and produced in Tasmania, keeping in mind sustainability and social responsibility through out the whole process.”

Wild Island supports ethical and sustainable use of Tasmanian timbers.

Landscape photography with Hillary Younger

Come on a journey with Hillary Younger exploring the relationship between art and landscape photography ; from pre-visualisation to in-the-field capture, and then cutting edge aspects of a digital workflow.

The session will include:

– Learning from landscape painters
– Analysing what makes landscape images work (or not)
– RAW conversion
– Hand-blending images using masks and layers
– Working with Luminosity
– Colour Theory
– Advanced and creative dodging and burning
– Digital workflow using Photoshop CC and various plug-ins

The session is targeted towards all photographers from beginners to advanced, and is intended to provide knowledge and enhance skills to assist all in taking their photography to the next level.”

Bio: Hillary is a landscape photographer based in southern Tasmania, who travels and photographs extensively internationally. She teaches post-processing online, as well as leading in-field workshops both locally and internationally.


Interwoven – Exhibition by Trauti Reynolds

“With this exhibition I want to celebrate the beauty of Tasmania’s natural world. When walking in the bush with our small sons I learned to look at the often unobtrusive, small details of Tasmania’s forests, mountains and shorelines. Textures, colours and patterns catch my attention and imagination. I hope that this body of work reflects this.”

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Opening 6pm, Friday 1 April
Exhibition continues until Wednesday 27 April

Trauti Reynolds Wet Eucalypt Bark (detail), 36.5x35cm, tapestry weaving with cotton threads, 2015

Passages – Exhibition by Cate Blackmore

Passage: a journey by sea or air; a privilege of conveyance as a passenger.

European history records Abel Tasman’s expedition of 1642, seeking the Great South Land. From that point in time, how many men, women and children have had passage along Tasmania’s coast; seen the granite, the sandstone and the dolerite from the sea, looking in. How many convicts, settlers, officers, merchants and now tourists have gazed upon the painted rocks, the luscious turquoise water and pristine white sand of land’s edge. How welcome was landfall…

(A tribute to the many passengers seeking to find a home in Australia.)

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Rock, ice, rainforest + Topophilia

Rob Blakers    Rock, ice, rainforest

Landscape photography takes us out of the studio and away from the situations that we control. It is the engagement of thought and planning, strenuous travel and intuition. It is the art of finding ourselves in places where we are drawn into subtle nature, and of seeking images that convey that experience.

This exhibition presents moments from wild landscapes in Tasmania. It comes from fine winter light on ice and mountains, elegant sand-dunes and sand-stone, and ephemeral mist in quiet forest. It is the amazing Tasmanian endemic gondwanan flora and lingering twilight over the western sea. It is a collection of encounters, mostly recent, from three decades of pursuit.

Read Rob’s opening speech below.

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Olivia Hickey    Topophilia

Artist statement: I am an explorer of the outdoors with a deep and long held connection to the wild places. I am often drawn to the hidden details within the land and find myself captivated by the complexity and beauty in the small. I collect natural treasures mindfully, transmute them into silver and return them to place.

This process ensures that they are still part of the land and highlights the magic of the hidden details. I strive to capture the intangible moments and create talismans that connect people to the ephemeral elements of place so they can be worn on the landscape of the body.

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Opening speech by Rob Blakers

Rock, Ice, Rainforest
Wild Island, February 5th 2016

“Almost half of the images on display tonight are in the direct line of the fires that continue to burn in western Tasmania.

The 100 and more fires that were lit by lightning strikes on 13th January have had a devastating impact on the Tasmanian natural landscape, and in particular on rainforest and alpine communities, which have no tolerance for fire. Fire has burnt at the edge of Australia’s largest rainforest wilderness in the Tarkine, and rolled around the western end of the Central Plateau, and at Lake Mackenzie and the February Plains, for more than 3 weeks. Trees, plants and organic soils that were upwards of a thousand years old have been killed. In a warming and drying climate this is a one-way process – those communities will not come back.

The loss of the highland Gondwanic endemics – pencil and King Billy pines, cushion plants and other alpine species, has been ongoing since white colonization of Tasmania. Less than half of the pencil pines that grew here 200 years ago now remain. Most of that loss has been caused by people, through fires that were deliberately lit and also through fires started inadvertently.

The fires of the last several weeks are different and mark the era in which we now find ourselves. We still have direct human folly, but the consequences of indirect human folly have, for the first time in history, eclipsed those. The fires that began on the 13th are not natural fires but are one terrible way in which climate change now manifests in Tasmania.

In the decade from 1993 to 2003 there were 17 wildfires ignited by lightning strikes in Tasmania. In the decade that followed there were 30. In the last month alone there have been upwards of 130. This, coupled with the driest summer ever recorded in western Tasmania, makes a critically dangerous situation. It is precisely what the climate change modeling predicted.

Pencil and King Billy pines are wonderful things; they have been my favorites since I first came to Tasmania. The highland Gondwanan landscapes are unique in Australia, and corresponding high altitude long lived trees are globally rare and diminishing. In light of these fires, however, I now see the alpine pine communities differently. I saw them before as an incredibly special and beautiful feature of the Tasmanian highlands. I still see them as that, but now see them also as fragile relicts that need our utmost protection. These plants have been around for 65 million years yet today face unprecedented threats. To lose them in the wild in coming decades, a very real prospect, would be a hideous indictment.

In their destructive spread the fires have cast a pall of smoke over Tasmania. They have also cast a pall over the collective mood of most of the people that I know – people who understand and care for wild places. It’s grief at the specific loss of ancient pines and deep rainforest, but it is more than that. For many of us this event has touched a dread that we have carried, not always consciously, for decades. It’s the understanding that humans have plundered the planet for selfish ends for a long time and that the inevitable consequences of that abuse are now in play.

Climate change has landed on our shores and today’s fires are a part of that, but plainly the crisis affects more than our beautiful pencil pines and rainforests. We are in a fight for the life of the planet.

The dread that we feel, and the events that are becoming increasingly apparent globally, can be powerful motivators. Faced with dire questions of our own survival, there has never been such incentive for positive change. To not fight is to plunge further into denial and despair. Our past cannot be our future.

We need to reduce our own impacts and help those either unable or unwilling, to also do so. We need to cultivate our vegetable plots and cultivate our resourcefulness, creativity and intuition.

Let’s hope that in a hundred years we can all look around and see the places in these pictures – flourishing groves of pencil and King Billy pine at Mt Anne, the Arthurs, and in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, verdant rainforest in the Weld and the Northeast, (and of course in the Tarkine National Park), all being rained bountifully upon in a repairing Tasmanian climate.”

Contours of Tasmania – Summer Exhibition

Group exhbition with works by Tasmanian artists Peter Dombrovskis, Michael Weitnauer, Rob Blakers, Chris Bell, Jenny Burnett, Simon Olding, Barbara Tassell, Julie Stoneman, Fyona Storer, Kelly Gerdes, Deborah Wace and Loic Le Guilly.

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